Interviews

Interview with Mayumi Yoshida

Mayumi Yoshida is a dynamic talent who, since the beginning of her career, has discovered how to express her voice and perspective in various mediums. Whether she is directing a play or acting in a hit TV show, she captures audiences’ attention with her talent. Up next, Mayumi can be seen in the fourth and final season of the Emmy-
nominated Amazon drama “The Man in the High Castle”.

1. How did you become involved in the film industry?

I did a lot of theatre back in Tokyo then I moved to North America to get more training. I ended up staying in Vancouver because I loved the film community here.

2. Of the roles that you played, who was your favorite to portray and why?

Hands down the Crown Princess in The Man in the High Castle. ESPECIALLY in season four! There’s a scene we shot in San Francisco in season 4 episode 1, where I make a speech in front of the 300 something background artists at the beautiful palace of the fine arts. When I stood there, it was quite the view, and I knew I’d never forget it.

3. You portray The Crown Princess on “The Man in The High Castle”. Can you tell us how you got into character? Was any research involved?

I had a royal mannerism coach that was so helpful, so I could get my hand placements and small details correct. I also bought this back straightening gear to find her posture. It helped a lot to understand her from how she physically carried herself.

4. How would you describe “The Man in The High Castle” to someone who hasn’t watched it yet?

It’s an epic SciFi series that plays with alternate realities. They built a rich world with stunning cinematography and complex characters.

5. What do you love most about your job as an artist?

That I get to revisit moments in my life from the past. Good and bad. You don’t do that unless you’re an actor or a writer.

6. What kind of roles do you prefer when you are looking at a potential character to portray?

As a female POC, I prefer to play someone who is not afraid to say what they want to say. Characters that empower the viewers. Characters that inspire you to go out of your comfort zone.

7. Can you disclose anything about your upcoming projects?

I am developing my short AKASHI into a feature film. I also have some animation voice over projects that will be coming out probably in 2020.

8. What has been your biggest accomplishment as an actor so far?

To simply sustain a living through doing only entertainment industry-related work, and to have managed to be interviewed like this as a Japanese actor working in North America.

9. Who are some artists that inspire you and why?

This is so hard because I have so many. My Vancouver local filmmaker friends inspire me a lot. But this particular year I was deeply inspired by Phoebe Waller-Bridge. AKASHI was also a Fringe play, so I hope I get to have a career like Phoebe.

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring actors who want to get started in the industry?

Don’t wait for anyone’s permission. Take ownership of your talent.

11. You have written numerous plays, made 5 short films and won over 20 awards
worldwide. What is next in your career as an artist?

Well, I just released my short “Tokyo Lovers” online. The next big project is directing my first feature film that I wrote and hope to star in as well. Crazy, I know lol. I have some other projects in development, but for now, I’m just going to keep creating work to give more opportunities for people like me who are underrepresented in this industry. Just like Ava DuVernay says, “If your dream only includes you, it’s too small”. Rising up with my peers motivates me, so I’ll keep doing that.

12. What is one philosophy that you live by?

Um…You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyonce… lol. Just kidding I have many but they change from time to time.

13. What are some causes that are dear to your heart and you hope to bring awareness to?

I am always very passionate about Representation in media. When we see it, we believe it. So I support the Geena Davis Institution on Gender in Media and the work they do for us. My friends Ava Vanderstarren and Fazineh Keita have a non-profit called “Innocence Lost Foundation” Their mission is to create rehabilitation centers that provide a safe place, therapy, education, and skills training for former child soldiers and war-affected youth in Africa. They’ve been running this organization ever since we graduated film school together 9 years ago and it’s inspiring to see them make a change through their own organization. Please take a look at their website to support them.

Thank you so much to Mayumi for the wonderful interview. You can find more about her and her work on:

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IMDb

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